Freedomroo – Super League updates, Liverpool vs Leeds player protests, Bayern Munich, Jurgen Klopp respond

Melbourne Storm v Penrith Panthers, Brandon Smith, North Queensland Cowboys, Viliame Kikau

When you’ve put Prince William off side you know you’re in dangerous territory.

Plans for a breakaway Super League announced by 12 of the world’s most powerful clubs has plunged European football into an unprecedented crisis and drawn some stunning rebukes.

The Duke of Cambridge, who is president of the game’s governing body in England, made a rare public statement to express his concern after six Premier League teams — Liverpool, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur — joined forces with Spanish giants Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid and Italian trio Juventus, Inter Milan and AC Milan to launch the planned competition.

The competition threatens to completely upturn the world’s biggest sport and leaves the prestigious Champions League — itself the fruit of the last major shake-up in European football in 1992 — facing an uncertain future.

RELATED: Matildas forced to choose between club and country

Monday’s breakaway announcement came just hours before UEFA planned to announce a new format for the Champions League which had been conceived to placate the continent’s biggest clubs and stave off the breakaway threat.

The reaction from all corners of the football world has been swift and includes:

— UEFA suggesting Manchester City, Chelsea and Real Madrid — three of the four semi-finalists in this year’s Champions League — will be immediately kicked out of the competition.

— German powerhouse Bayern Munich, the reigning Champions League titleholders, have distanced themselves from the Super League, leaving it without one of Europe’s biggest clubs.

— Leeds players and fans sent a message to Liverpool ahead of their Premier League fixture on Tuesday morning, displaying messages on their training shirts and holding signs that condemned the move.

— World governing body FIFA has expressed its “disapproval” of the proposed new competition.

Leeds T-shirts send a clear message

Liverpool were the first of the 12 clubs to play a domestic fixture in the wake of the announcement and were met with direct messages from their opposition.

Leeds players donned warmed up T-shirts saying “Champions League. Earn It” and “Football is for the fans” ahead of their fixture at Elland Rd.

Fans brought signs that read “Fans say no to Fenway’s Super Greed. No Super League” and “Love for the working class game ruined by greed and corruption! RIP LFC. Thanks for the memories”, while a plane flew a banner across the sky that read “Say No to Super League”.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was quick to lambast the protest after getting a glimpse of the Whites’ pre-match attire.

In his pre-match interview, the German told Sky Sports: “I heard there are warm-up shirts, we will not wear them, because we cannot.

“But if somebody thinks they have to remind us to ‘earn it’ to go to the Champions League, that’s a real joke and it makes me angry.

“If it was a Leeds idea, thank you very much, nobody has to remind us.”

PSG a default Champions League winner?

Super League clubs Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester City should be kicked out of this season’s Champions League, UEFA executive committee member and head of the Danish Football Association Jesper Moller told Danish broadcaster DR on Monday.

Moller said the decision would be made at an extraordinary meeting of the UEFA executive committee on Friday.

“The clubs are going out, and I expect that to happen on Friday. Then we have to see how to finish the Champions League,” Moller said.

It would either leave French club Paris St Germain as a default winner — or the three vacant semi-final spots could be filled by the three losing quarterfinalists (Porto, Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich) that aren’t affiliated with the Super League (Liverpool).

Moller said he expected the 12 Super League clubs to be excluded from UEFA’s tournaments going forward, and said the new concept was both greedy and selfish.

“I don’t think they can ever be as popular with our fans and those who love football,” he told DR.

UEFA has also threatened that players from the participating clubs “could be denied the opportunity to represent their national teams”.

Bayern not in favour

The absence of French and German teams from the founding members is notable, despite Bayern Munich and Qatar-owned Paris Saint-Germain reaching last season’s Champions League final.

Bayern have distanced themselves from the project, with chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge saying: “We are convinced that the current structure in football guarantees a reliable foundation.”

However, a source close to the 12 founding clubs told AFP that “at least two French clubs” are set to be involved every year.

Under the plan, two groups of 10 will play each other home and away, with the top three qualifying for the quarter-finals. The fourth and fifth-placed teams would play off for the two remaining spots.

Then the competition would adopt the same two-leg knockout format used in the Champions League before a single-leg final in May.

World governing body FIFA expressed its “disapproval” and called on all parties “to engage in calm, constructive and balanced dialogue”.

The Premier League, the richest in Europe, issued a furious statement to say “the concept of a European Super League would destroy” the dream that any team could “climb to the top and play against the best”.

Klopp breaks ranks, criticises plans

He might have condemned Leeds’ T-Shirts but Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp “destroyed his club’s owners on national television” when asked for his thoughts on the Super League.

Liverpool are in danger of failing to qualify for next season’s Champions League after a 1-1 draw with Leeds left them in sixth in the Premier League, behind Leicester and West Ham, two clubs excluded from the plans.

“One thing I understand and that people think is not right is the competitiveness, I get that,” Klopp told Sky Sports.

“I like the fact that West Ham might play Champions League next year. I don’t want them to, because I want us to be there, but I like that they have the chance.”

Klopp was previously quoted as saying “I hope this Super League will never happen” and questioning whether fans’ interest would be maintained by watching Liverpool face the likes of Real Madrid every year.

In 2019, the German said: “For me, the Champions League is the Super League, in which you do not always end up playing against the same teams.

“Why should we create a system where Liverpool faces Real Madrid for 10 straight years? Who wants to see that every year?”

Klopp said on Tuesday “my opinion didn’t change” when asked about his previous comments on a Super League.

“The most important part of football are the supporters and the team,” he said. “And we have to make sure that nothing gets in-between that.”

Reacting to Klopp’s remarks, Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville said: “Jurgen Klopp has come out tonight, and done it in a very calm fashion which he has to do from the position he is in, and he has destroyed his club’s owners on national television.”

Liverpool midfielder James Milner also stressed his opposition to the plans after the match against Leeds.

“I can only give my personal opinion, I don’t like it and hopefully it doesn’t happen,” he told Sky Sports.

“There are a lot of questions. We have tried to prepare for the game, so l can only imagine what has been said about it, but l would probably agree with most of it.”

— with AFP

Leave a Reply

Contact us

Give us a call or fill in the form below and we'll contact you. We endeavor to answer all inquiries within 24 hours on business days.